Metropolis: Shi Cheng, dubbed Lion City after the Lion Mountains that surround it, has lain hidden under 131 feet of water since 1959 to generate hydroelectric power.
The Lion City, otherwise known as Shi Cheng, is an ancient submerged city that lies at the foot of Wu Shi Mountain (Five Lion Mountain), now located about 25 – 40 meters beneath the spectacular Qiandao Lake (Thousand Island Lake) in China. Officials have taken a renewed interest in the sunken city after discovering that, despite more than 50 years underwater, the entire city has been preserved completely intact, transforming it into a virtual time capsule.
The Lion City was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 200 AD) and was first set up as a county in 208 AD. It was once the center of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang. But in 1959, the Chinese government decided a new hydroelectric power station was required – so it built a man-made lake, submerging Shi Cheng under 40 meters of water.
A sketch of the Lion City, which remains perfectly preserved underwater. Photo credit. After erecting a dam, now known as Xin’an River hydroelectric, the historical metropolis was slowly filled with water until it was completely submerged by the turquoise-blue mass now referred to as Qiandao Lake. Qiandao Lake covers an area of 573 km² and has a storage capacity of 17.8 km³. More than 1,000 large islands dot the lake and a few thousand smaller ones are scattered across it.